Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group

Preventing the Slide into the Out-Group In the last post, we discussed whether you were being ousted from your work’s in-group. This post is about how to prevent the slide if you can. Verifying your status Before you panic, you need to confirm that you are actually on the way out. Don’t talk to your boss. I know it’s the most direct route—he’s the one who creates the in-group. But think a moment. Suppose you say: “Hey, boss, I would have liked a heads-up about the Merkling merger.” Will he say, “Yeah, I didn’t because you’re not my go-to guy anymore.”? More likely is an omg or an embarrassed and stumbling justification why you didn’t need to know. If you believe the omg, things go back to normal. If you don’t, all you’ve done is raise something most people like to keep underground. Not a good way to stay in.  Ask a trusted colleague? You might have luck here, but the colleague has to be practically family. The colleague might be reluctant to pass on unpalatable news or risk her own standing if the boss finds out she has done so. Unless you’ve got a peer who you’d trust with…

Are You in the Out-Group or Going Out?

Are You in the Out-Group or Going Out? If there is an in-group, it’s only logical there is an out-group, or at very least people who aren’t part of the in-group. And, as I outlined previously, whether you are in or out can materially affect the progress of your career. Even if you’d rather not play this game, you at least need to know the signals so you can decide whether or when you want to pay attention. How to know if you are on your way out This can be subtle and may turn on a seemingly innocuous moment. This is not exhaustive, but here are some signs: You hear about things late. We all occasionally find out important things later than optimal. Nobody told you the critical report has been delayed three weeks. This should be easily addressed. If you speak to the forgetter and you get an “Omg, I should have told you. Sorry, won’t happen again,” you can probably chalk it up to what it seems—an honest mistake. But if this starts happening frequently and possibly from different sources, even if you get the omg thing, something may be up. Your suspicion radar should be beeping…

Are You in In-Groups?

Are You in In-Groups? In-groups and out-groups Companies don’t like admitting there are in-groups and out-groups—it conflicts with the one-big-happy-family thing they have going. They want to believe that everybody is equally valued and there are no first among equals. But, of course, organizations are set up exactly that way. There are in-groups at every level of a hierarchy, usually consisting of the boss and some of his immediate subordinates. So your boss is in more of an in-group than you by virtue of his position. So, in-groups abound, most centered around the boss. (I’ll deal with peer-centered in-groups later). Being part of one can bring many benefits. So, my first question is: Are you in the in-group? This might seem a silly question but sometimes people don’t know. You are usually part of the in-group[1] if: You’re the boss’ go-to guy. If you hear what’s coming down the pipe first and particularly if the boss asks your opinion of the new development, you’re probably in the in-group. But we need to distinguish between expert opinion and judgment opinion. Your boss might ask you something in your area of expertise. This is just fact-finding. When the boss asks your opinion…

Is There an In-Group at Your Work?

Is There an In-Group at Your Work? It’s a silly question to some If you have a boss who clearly favors some subordinates, and especially if you’re not one of the chosen, this seems a silly question as it’s as plain as the nose on your face that an in-group exists at your work. But for those either new to work or to the concept, it can be hard to tell. Is there an in-group at your work? There probably is, in that it’s just human nature for the boss to turn to people who’ve been with her a while, whose judgment she values, or who have a perspective she finds helpful. But the presence of an in-group is not as important as whether their special status affects your ability to do good work and be respected for it. Here are some ways to assess this: If you see a couple of the in-group talking, do you feel free to go up and ask, “What’s up?” and do they respond by including you in the discussion? Or do you have to be sure it’s a non-work exchange before you break in? If something happens you don’t like, can you say…

My Boss Plays Favorites
Employee Stream , Power for Employees / December 11, 2017

My Boss Plays Favorites What it is As I mentioned in other posts, your boss creating an in-group is not unusual and even to be expected. Except when he plays favorites. He: Gives plum assignments only to them Re-assigns a project if a favorite wants it Gossips, you suspect, with the favorites about other employees Allows the favorites leeway no one else is given, like getting in late, slacking off, ‘business’ trips. What it looks like You: Tony, Hiro [Tony’s favorite] asked me about my surgery. I told you that in confidence. Tony (your boss): I’m sure he was just being sympathetic—it’s a big deal. You: That’s not the point—I told you that in confidence. Tony: I had to. He’s taking over when you’re off. You: Hiro! But he doesn’t have the background—he’s never done high level strategy. Tony: Good chance to learn. You: But so many files are at crucial points. Wouldn’t Rebecca be better— Tony: You just need to make sure you brief Hiro well. If you are hoping that Tony will slap his forehead and say, “Oh, my god, I have been playing favorites,” you’re going to wait a long time. What to do One option is…